DALLAS – The CEOs of major US airlines have signed a joint letter, encouraging US President Joe Biden to drop the mask mandate on airplanes and airports. The mandate is due to end on April 18.
As per the mandate, passengers in the US are required to wear a mask on airplanes and in airports during their entire journey.
While it is a common requirement worldwide amid the still ongoing COVID pandemic, some airlines and airports in Denmark and the UK have already lifted their respective mask mandates. KLM (KL), along with other carriers, is no longer enforcing a face mask requirement on board as of this week despite government rules in the Netherlands.
Virgin Atlantic (VS) and British Airways (BA) have also announced plans to lift their mask requirements, following the steps of Jet2 (LS), the first airline to do so in the UK. The British government dropped mandates on transportation in February.
Content of the Joint Letter
In the letter, the group defended its position against the current restrictions, one of which is international testing requirements. They are, according to the letter, “no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.” According to the heads of airlines, the requirements are no longer needed because of the high vaccination rates and other countries that have abandoned similar requirements.
The letter read, “It makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools, and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do.”
Moreover, they underlined the issues their employees are facing. Case in point: flight attendants. Amid the current mask requirements, there have been many more unruly passengers. “This is not a function they are trained to perform and subjects them to daily challenges from frustrated customers. This, in turn, takes a toll on their own well-being,” declared the group.
Included among those who signed the letter are the heads of Alaska Airlines (AS), Atlas Air (5Y), American Airlines (AA), Delta Air Lines (DL), FedEx Express (FX), Hawaiian Airlines (HA), JetBlue Airways (B6), Southwest Airlines (WN), United Airlines (UA), UPS Airlines (5X) and Washington, D.C.-based trade association and lobbying group, Airlines for America (A4A).
Featured image: Photo: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport